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Police Step Up Security Around Capitol

The Capitol Police tightened security procedures across the Congressional campus this weekend — including an increase in the number of vehicle checks conducted by officers — following a Homeland Security Department announcement about specific terrorist threats to financial institutions in Washington, D.C., New York and New Jersey.

A Capitol Police spokesman said the law-enforcement agency is coordinating its efforts with both Homeland Security and the Metropolitan Police Department while increasing security measures throughout the Capitol complex.

Officers will step up the number of vehicle stops to screen for explosives and other hazardous materials. A police spokesman, Officer Michael Lauer, declined to discuss specific locations where vehicle stops could be set up, but said: “They’re looking to have several different locations to access the Hill.”

In addition to the Capitol grounds, the Capitol Police patrol an extended jurisdiction bounded by H Street on the north and P and M streets on the south, Third Street to the west and Seventh Street to the east.

In an attempt to increase the department’s manpower, Capitol Police officials have also implemented 12-hour shifts for officers, who will be limited to one day off per week.

While Homeland Security officials raised the federal terror alert level to “high” for several areas — including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank located in the District’s Northwest quadrant — it is not clear whether Congressional officials will raise the Capitol’s internal alert system level.

Lauer declined to comment, stating: “We operate off the same level, basically it mirrors what the DHS issues.”